The Shoes Wanted to Speak

in Gun Violence/U.S. by

for victims of Aurora, Las Vegas, Thousand Oaks shootings, and more

Lined up like strike-anywhere
matches, the shoes (spectators,
moccasins, huaraches, mules)
wanted to speak for the ones
who had worn them,

words about the end of things,
how Rome might burn again,
only different, a revelation
yet to be revealed, a swift,
surprising departure via

barrel, chamber, Kalash-
nikov, devices agreed-upon
by the ones we had chosen,
even though they buried
humanity mass scale as if

by fire. The shoes wanted
to speak of the way the ether
swirled away from the soles
—nine rounds a second—
white and airy, ether that once

knew hearts, brains, happiness,
even their given names; wanted
to tell of the abiding sadness
of an ending which was (they
knew) against the nature of things.



‘I’m hit’: 911, police radio communications shed light on Aurora mass shooting [Chicago Sun Times]
‘I’ll remember him forever’: Vigil held in honor of Aurora shooting victims [WGN-TV Chicago]

Caroline Cottom, Ph.D., is the former leader of the movement that brought an end to nuclear test explosions in the Nevada desert, described in her memoir, Love Changes Things, Even in the World of Politics. Her poetry has appeared in Silk Road, Pennsylvania English, Mandala Journal, negative capability, Serving House Journal, and The Broad River Review, among others. With her husband Thom Cronkhite, Caroline also teaches meditation and other tools for living in peace, joy, and integrity.

Photo by Jacob Campbell.